Inspectors General: Comparison of Ways Law Enforcement Authority Is Granted

GAO-02-437 Published: May 22, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 2002.
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At federal offices of inspectors general (IG), criminal investigators can make warrantless arrests, obtain and execute search warrants, and carry firearms. Because IGs lack permanent statutory law enforcement authority, most presidentially appointed IGs have to request temporary deputation from the Department of Justice (DOJ). However, presidentially appointed IGs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Department of the Treasury possess permanent statutory law enforcement authority and do not need to obtain DOJ's approval. IG criminal investigators who are deputized do not differ in terms of their scope of law enforcement authority, supervision, and training from their counterparts who have statutory law enforcement authority. Deputized IGs receive additional oversight over their law enforcement authority. Fifteen of the 23 deputized IGs report that statutory authority would improve their criminal investigative practices and enhance their recognition as fully authorized officers in the law enforcement community. DOJ is now considering its position on ways to provide law enforcement authority to deputized IGs.

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